By David Kaplan

The last time Portland updated zoning to support the Comprehensive Plan was in 1988.  That effort was a blueprint for increasing density in transit oriented neighborhoods that encouraged diverse transportation options.  The recent convergence of a depressed housing market has resulted in rental vacancy rates of under three percent. The result of this rental market trend coupled with low interest rates has stimulated the construction of rental housing along transit streets, primarily in east Portland. These new projects typically do not have dedicated parking for each unit. Often, these projects displace homes with historic significance.  This model puts pressure on adjacent neighborhood streets for on-street parking. Many neighbors are concerned about the loss of convenience that this creates. Many existing homes in these neighborhoods do not have off-street parking, and will now compete with the new projects for street spaces.

The HAND board hopes to work with developers to help mitigate some of the impacts of the new apartment projects. As these units are marketed to renters that may not own cars, HAND has, in the past, encouraged these developers to include incentives for transit use, bicycle parking, and car sharing. HAND has long supported goals of sustainability and development that reduces our carbon footprint. We hope to find solutions that address the competing values, and include policies to support those goals in the planning process.

The HAND Board is engaged in the on-going revisions to zoning. Troy Doss from the Planning Bureau spoke at the October Board Meeting about the Central City 2035 Plan, which is the city’s input to the overall Comprehensive Plan. The Central City Plan will focus on the portions of the HAND neighborhood and the Central Eastside Industrial District in 2014. This is an integrated plan which addresses economic development, transportation, zoning, and amenities. The Central City Plan along with the overall Portland Plan will be an opportunity to revisit the zoning decisions made 25 years ago that are now impacting density, transportation, and parking in eastside neighborhoods.

At the request of LARDO restaurant at Ladd and Hawthorne, HAND has negotiated a Good Neighbor Agreement.  LARDO has agreed to shut down outdoor operations at 10 pm, and will prevent “spillover” seating from the food carts after hours.